Review – Golden Sun

For the most part, the library of video games consists largely of clones of previously successful games. Games such as Grand Theft Auto III have spawned so many sorry attempts at duplication that a whole new sub-genre was born. There was a time when there was only Grand Theft Auto, and the imitators were yet to join the party. So revolutionary titles do happen. They do not happen frequently, and there are plenty of examples of games that tried to establish something new and failed. I think ChoroQ is an example of this. In trying to create an RPG complete with plot, towns, and dungeon exploration within the context of a racing game (or vice versa) the series (which apparently has several iterations on various systems around the world) tried something unique but ended up making a below average game. →  Read the rest

Review – Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga

Games often try to do everything. Some have multiple engines to handle their different systems; platformers have driving bits, and RPGs have action minigames. This is despite the fact that the best known designers — Wright, Crawford, Meiers – say it’s better to make a deep game by the simple interaction of a few parts than to try to do everything. The adage is it’s better to do a few things well than a lot of things poorly.

There are, though, some designers who seem not only content with not sticking to only a few things but who go on record declaring such. David Jaffe has said that he wants to make games that are entirely one offs. He means he doesn’t want to go the traditional route of making an engine, creating some environments and some puzzles to solve/enemies to kill. →  Read the rest

Review – Fire Emblem: Sacred Stones

Fire Emblem: Sacred Stones
Developed by Intelligent Systems
Published by Nintendo
Released 5.23.05


Extra vowels make common names mysterious and fanciful.

As a kid fighting in the trenches during the Sega vs. Nintendo War, Shining Force was a potent weapon for the Sega legions. The only possible counter attack was mention Nintendo’s Fire Emblem, Japan’s first console strategy RPG. How I hated this series that I had never even seen. I took solace in knowing that only the most obsessed gamers knew of its existence; I did my best to block the name Fire Emblem from my mind.

Thank god that war is over. Having embraced all that video games have to offer, I can now play and love quality titles from all developers. Fire Emblem managed to come out with six entries before one was localized for the U.S. →  Read the rest